In order for Navarro's Edelzwicker to be true to its Alsatian roots there are only four grape varieties that we blend into Navarro's Edelzwicker: Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat à petits grains blanc. For the final blend to be totally satisfying it usually takes at least three of these grape varieties in the cuvée so that no one variety's flavor dominates. In 2014, we had spectacular conditions for the production of a cluster select late harvest Riesling, so we dedicated our second largest Riesling field to sweet wine, leaving us with substantially less dry Riesling than in prior vintages. Not only were we unable to produce enough of the wine we label as Anderson Valley Riesling, but the wine from this grape variety also became the limiting ingredient in the 2014 Edelzwicker.
Dumping Gewürz grapes into a grape destemmer's hopper. During harvest we mounted a GoPro camera on the front of our forklift; the white picking bin (foreground) is about ten feet in the air and is being rotated so that the grapes fall directly into the stainless steel hopper below.
Justin Sawyer getting into (left) and getting out of (right) an oak oval. Navarro's Edelzwicker was cool fermented and aged in seasoned European oak ovals; the casks vary in size from 250 to 1,500 gallons. In June, after the wine has been removed for bottling, we have to get inside to clean them. This isn't easy when you're a strapping six foot six.
Fortunately, we had a nice array of Gewürz and Pinot Gris wines to choose from to blend with the scanty supply of Riesling. Selecting the final blend took only three tastings, much fewer than usual. The grapes from three vineyard sites utilized in this 2014 cuvée were fermented and aged for eight months in French oak ovals before blending with a dash of Muscat in the spring of 2015. This wine is perfect for summertime sipping by itself, or on the patio, deck or beach with a bit of Pennyroyal cheese. Since we produced a lot less than normal don't wait too long to order. Gold Medal winner.